What Are You Collecting?

A hero or role model is defined by one’s ability to enjoy simplicity. –  Kim Z. Garrett

My wife and I just recently moved into a new house; we’re now empty nesters and because of that we’re starting to change our lifestyle. During the move, we decided that if any item we own doesn’t have a specific purpose and place then we are not going to keep it.

This change came out of one specific point of pain that I’ve shared before and that was a few years ago when my mother-in-law passed away.  We ended up with all of her stuff that was of great importance and held great memories for her, but it just didn’t have the same meaning to us. Sadly, at the end of a life, most material items just end up in basements, thrift stores and landfills.

I don’t plan on dying for a long time, which means that I have the opportunity to collect a lot more stuff, but it probably won’t be of the same value to my daughter Kelsey and I don’t want to have her to have to go through this same thing. So, Lyn and I have really begun to look closely at what we are collecting and have started to get rid of some stuff.

With the new move, I had the opportunity to redecorate my home office. In the past, I would have put up my collections of autographed baseball paraphernalia like signed baseballs, bats and helmets or the thousands of autographed books that I’ve compiled over the years. However, in the end, these things may have some monetary value to others and sentimental value to me, but it is just more stuff. So I have resolved to sell all of it. I have a broker looking at it now or maybe I’ll just put it up on eBay, but either way it is time to go.

This time around, my office was decorated in a much simpler style. My shelves contain pictures that I took that represent a significant family trip. There is a picture of the Sydney Opera House and another one of the Sterling Vineyards, memories that are important to me. There are also mementos on the shelf that represent a significant gift like a crystal dish that Senator Jack Danforth gave me as a gift to commemorate his election. There is also an ink pen from a bill on which I worked very hard that was signed by Mel Carnahan, who was the then-Governor of Missouri – again, something of significance.

wooden shelf with vases, books and lamp

To me, this is a time of year and a time in my life to bring about order so that I am not so worried about stuff and instead can focus more on about making new memories. The metaphorical “box” in life is only so big. If you have it full of junk, it is hard to put new and better things in. I want to make sure that for the next 25 years of my life, the things we add are about people and places as opposed to trinkets and treasures. It is my hope that you’ll do the same.

Always Forward.

Question: Are the things that fill your office, home and heart simply material possessions or things that actually matter?

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